Exercise in the Heat Series: The benefits

Written by Jared Kauffman.

There is a lot of time and energy spent on educating people on the dangers of exercising in the heat but there ARE some of great benefits to exercising in the heat!  The heat is not all bad and here’s what you should know:

  • In hot and humid environments there is a natural rise in body temperature even before you begin your workout, decreasing the time it takes your body to warm up and reach on optimal internal state for workout. 
  • For every degree celsius that your body temperature increases, your heart rate increases approximately 10 beats.  A faster heart rate means more blood being pumped to your muscles which equals more oxygen and nutrients getting to your muscles.
  • Increased temperature causes dilation of blood vessels, which again causes more blood and nutrients. 
  • Increased muscle temperature also aids in extensibility. Think about a rubber band; put it in the freezer, stretch it and it breaks, put it in a warm environment, stretch it, and it stretches much farther than it did at room temperature. (Now you understand the benefit of hot yoga!)
  • Lastly, less related to exercise, an increased body temperature has been shown to help the immune system work better. This is the same idea behind a having a fever when you are sick! 

     However, with the reward comes some risk.  It is no secret that exercising outdoors too long in the heat can be dangerous.  Next week, you’ll take a look at the common dangers of exercising in the heat.  And how to make sure you stay safe.


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